Way down in Victoria is a knob of land called Wilsons Promontory. Surrounded on 3 sides by the crashing Southern Ocean with granite headlands, natural beaches and plenty of wildlife, this is an area liked by the locals and tourist who stay in Lorne accommodation before making their way down here. Take a look at Squeaky Beach, so called since the sand ‘squeaks’, the historic 1859 lighthouse and the fabulous views from Mount Oberon. There is a lot of lodging in the area from standard right to the luxury.
Kosciuszko National Park, NSW
Heading to NSW? Well, you can’t visit our southern neighbour without a journey to Kosciuszko National Park. The home of the famous Snowy River, in addition to Mt Kosciuszko, Australia’s greatest mountain, the surroundings are simply sensational. Recognised as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, this park has a fantastic range of native plants and animals, including the corroboree frog and the mountain pygmy possum
Kalbarri National Park, WA
Head north from Perth and you will discover the breathtaking Kalbarri National Park with deep canyons carved out by the Murchison River, spectacular views and various hiking tracks.
There are several breath-taking lookouts along the hiking tracks, the most well-known being Nature’s Window, which frames a perfect view upstream. So, if you wish to get back to nature for a few days, then the Kalbarri National Park is the ideal salve for your soul.
Flinders Ranges National Park, SA
With magnificent canyons, excellent range of mountains, Aboriginal Rock Art and protected creeks, Flinders Ranges has some of the most amazing scenery in South Australia.
After staying in some great Apollo Bay accommodation, take a look at the Wangarra lookout and the historical Hills Homestead, Old Wilpena Station, Stokes Hill Lookout and Brachina Gorge. You could also take the 28km Moralana scenic drive, check out the Sacred Canyon or catch a photo of the Cazneaux Tree, made well-known by Harold Cazneaux in his 1937 painting, entitled “The Spirit of Endurance”.
Have you ever wanted to experience travelling alone? If you have, then here are some of the best destinations for you to go exploring on your own.
Just the thought of getting on a plane and jetting off to somewhere all alone can be daunting to a lot of people, especially the plus size clothing type, but it doesn’t have to be! There are so many destinations around the world that are perfectly suited for solo travellers to visit and there are so many tours you can do, whether it be full day tours or half day tours, and the great thing is that it doesn’t matter what your budget is or how old you are! Everyone is doing it for the same reason, to explore the world on a whole new level.
So here are our top 7 picks…
1. New York City, USA
Whether you want to stroll down 5th Avenue, visit all of the museums that show off their amazing museum art and design works, eat as much food as you can manage, or even just grab a book and sit in Central Park, your options are endless in this city! Want the New York experience? Go straight to Times Square and embrace the energy that surrounds that place 24/7 or go venture down to Broadway and watch a play. Or if you are wanting to understand the city on a deeper level then visit the 9/11 memorial for a glimpse into the city’s history.
2. Costa Rica, Central America
In Costa Rica, you always have so much to choose from when it comes to finding things to do. If you are feeling adventurous, you can go zip lining and white water rafting, or do some hiking through the jungles and volcanoes. Or if you would like to relax, there are plenty of spas and retreats you can go to, and there are even some hot springs to visit!
3. Dublin, Ireland
Dublin would have to be one of the friendliest places in the world. You can be walking down the street, stumble across a bar and go inside, and then by the time you leave several hours later, you would have made a number of new mates.
4. Reykjavik, Iceland
Considered one of the safest countries in the world, Iceland is one of the best places to travel to solo. You can take your time when there and go whale and dolphin watching, spot geysers, relax in the geothermal spa the Blue Lagoon, or take an excursion to the Northern Lights. So many beautiful and breathtaking things to see and do, it makes the best adventure.
5. Barcelona, Spain
There are always heaps of people out and about in Barcelona, so much so that you’ll find yourself just sitting there and people watching from the cafes or on the beach where the outdoor gym is full of people strutting around and preening. Make yourself comfortable perched at the really cool bars that are around, go into town to experience the cultural differences, or go have a quick swim in the ocean whenever you desire because it is all at your fingertips.
6. Melbourne, Australia
You don’t have to be in your twenties to go backpacking around Australia. There are so many amazing places suited for solo travellers and Melbourne tops it in my opinion! Your options are endless when in Melbourne. You have a large range of bars you can go to, so many different sporting events for you to choose from, with a notable mention of the MCG which looks like it’s lit up with industrial lighting, and even some beautiful places you can travel to for a day or even spend a weekend along The Great Ocean Road. A personal favourite of mine being Yarra Valley wine tours.
7. Amsterdam, Netherlands
Amsterdam is such a beautiful place full of so much life and culture. Spend your time visiting art museums and markets, or for a bit more adventure, jump on a bike and ride around or hop on a boat and go for a cruise down the canal. The city is always buzzing and the people are so welcoming.
The Yarra Valley is very lucky that Mother Nature was so generous to the region, rewarding it with a picture perfect combination of farm lands as far as the eyes can see, perfectly kept vineyards, thick and luscious natural reserves, and an abundance of wildlife. Driving down the main road Maroondah Highway, surrounded by cows, sheep, and horses enjoying their daily feed in the paddocks, with nice retaining walls I must add, has such a warm and fuzzy vibe to it, but if you are wanting to explore Australia’s wildlife even further, then pop into Healesville Sanctuary where you’ll find so many more mammals, birds and reptiles such as koalas and kangaroos, to echidnas and wombats. The list doesn’t seem to end! But if it is more the view you would like to absorb, Yarra Valley has plenty of lookouts you can go to, to see the amazing views of the rolling green hills, forest covered mountains, and sprawling vineyards. So go and have your physio fix any niggles with your body and get exploring! You can find them scattered around Healesville to the east, and just past Christmas Hills to the west.
2. Fine Wine
The fresh sun-kissed climate of the Yarra Valley creates the perfect condition for a collection of fine wines from some of the world’s most renowned wineries. Whether you are after a crisp chardonnay or a smooth pinot noir, or you would much prefer a playful glass of sparkling wine, there is definitely no shortage of selections to satisfy even the pickiest wine connoisseur. With over 80 wineries in the Valley alone, your options are endless and you will easily be able to find some Yarra Valley wine tours that suit you. But if wine isn’t really your thing, don’t worry! For those who are yearning over a cold cider or a refreshing pale ale, there are plenty of options in the valley that aren’t wine, like the Meletos Ciderhouse and Brewery with beers and ciders, or the White Rabbit Brewery with a big selection of Belgian Style beers.
3. Terrific Food
Visiting the Yarra Valley on the weekend means you are in for a treat! Numerous wineries offer a special Saturday night dinner menu with the chef’s best creations, which is paired with the finest wines they have to offer. Add that to an amazing view and a romantic atmosphere and you have got yourself a perfect out of town date night at any of the Yarra Valley vineyards
4. Hidden Accommodation
Food and wine is essential for a weekend away, but if there is one thing more important than that, it is the luxury place you’ll be consuming it! There is a wide variety ranging from small B&B ‘s to 5-star luxury hotels, so you are sure to find something you like when searching for beautiful Yarra Valley accommodation! The options are endless! You can have a room in a shared house or have an entire house which is suitable for a family or group of friends (a girls weekend away with lots of wine? Um yes please!)
5. Quirky Shopping
When shopping in the Yarra Valley, don’t expect to be stocking up on the latest fashion trends. As a matter of fact, you’ll be hard pressed to find more than just a handful of shops in Healesville, but for those who love to shop, there are a few options if you want to maybe pick up a few little Christmas gifts for either yourself or someone else! If by any chance you are in Yarra Glen on the 3rd Sunday of the month, then take the time to visit the Yarra Valley Farmer’s Market It consists of a wide variety of arts and crafts, gourmet food, produce, and homewares.
6. Outside Activities
If you are wanting to break up your day with some outdoor activities, then the Yarra Valley has lots to offer. You can head over to one of the golf courses, 4 of them have been ranked in the Australian top 100 by the Australian Golf Digest, to enjoy a nice round of golf, or if golf isn’t your thing, then you can spend some time hiking or cycling through some of the great trails, or book a Segway tour for something different! And for those who are wanting the ultimate experience, hot air ballooning might just be the right fit for you. The view of the valley in the morning is breathtaking and definitely worth the expense. Your options are endless and there are so many Yarra Valley tours to choose from so you are sure to find something everyone enjoys.
7. Family Adventures
When you think of a wine region, you probably don’t think about it being a destination for the whole family, but in the Yarra Valley, your kids can easily have heaps of fun too. They can go on a forest zip-lining adventure in the Dandenong Ranges, or spend a day at the Healesville Sanctuary getting familiar with the amazing wildlife that Australia has to offer.
But if you are after something to keep the kids happy, then the Yarra Valley Chocolatier and Ice-Creamery is the best place to go! They have free chocolate tastings, hundreds of chocolates on display, and by far some of the best chocolatiers working on their delicious creations, it is every kids (and adults!!) dream! They have made it virtually impossible to stop yourself from trying way too much chocolate and to leave empty handed!
It is near impossible to not enjoy your time visiting the incredible place that is the Yarra Valley.
I recently came across a brilliant article that goes through genius ways of packing your clothing for the big trip overseas. This article is especially helpful for any person who is terrible packing like a few of my close friends who find it extremely hard to fit everything in that they need. Enjoy the read.
Some travelers jam two weeks’ worth of gear in their bags for a long weekend. Others pack a bit too lightly and forget important things like medicine or passports. Savvy travelers strike the perfect balance and bring just what they need, like people with plus size clothing – with a little help from our list of road-tested packing tips, of course!
When packing your clothes, you don’t want to neatly fold them individually as you would in a dresser. If you do, they will crease when compressed. Here are a few alternatives:
Rolling Your Clothes
Backpackers swear by this method. Rolling works well with pants, skirts and sports shirts. Lay the item face down, fold back the sleeves and then roll from the bottom up.
Fold Clothes Together
Take two or more garments, for example, trousers, and lay half of one pair on top of the other. Fold the one on the bottom over the pair on the top. Then take the other and fold it on the top. This gives each pair some cushion where you’ve folded it so it’s less likely to crease or wrinkle in the folds.
What Not to Pack
The Bundle Approach
This ingenious method of packing, which we learned from Judith Guilford, co-founder of the Easy Going travel store and author of the “The Packing Book,” has now become our favorite. It’s a bit difficult to explain without a demonstration, but we’ll do our best. You need luggage that opens up and lays flat to do this. You will also need a flat, soft, pouch-like rectangular “core” with dimensions that are at least 1/2 to 3/4 the size of your luggage compartment. This can be a pouch filled with underwear or something similar.
Start with your sports jacket or the longest, most wrinkle-prone item you have. With the collar or waistband flat, place it against the bottom edge of the bag and drape the rest of the garment over the opposite side of the bag. Take another garment and place it in the opposite direction, flattening and smoothing out both garments in the bag and draping the remainder over the side. If you have trousers or other narrow items, do the same with them in the narrow direction of the bag. Keep alternating your items, ending up with the most wrinkle-resistant clothes you have.
When you finish, place your “core” in the middle. Now you’re going to start folding the garments over the core and each other in the reverse order you put them in. If you fold something over and there’s excess draping over the sides of the bag, tuck it underneath the bundle you are creating.
What you will end up with is a bundle of all of your clothes that looks like a pillow. You can pick it up in one piece. It’s compactly packed and doesn’t waste an available space in your luggage. Plus, because of the way things are folded, your clothes will wrinkle less.
To find something in the bundle, lay it flat and unwrap until you reach the layer you want. Take the item out and refold the remainder. If done properly each layer should result in a self-contained bundle at each layer.
Interactive Packing List
For delicate items, try tissue paper Lay the item face down and place tissue paper on top. Fold it up with the tissue paper inside. Use additional layers of paper as you fold the garment so it is completely wrapped in and around paper. This is easy enough the first time you pack, but becomes a pain if you have to keep repacking. We only use this approach for evening clothes that we don’t want to crush.
Tips for Air Travelers
You may not pack liquid or gel substances in your carry-on unless they are in individual containers of 3.4 ounces or less and enclosed in one clear, quart-size, plastic, zip-top bag per passenger. Any larger containers of liquids and gels must be packed in your checked luggage. For more information, see Airport Security Q&A.
Be aware of restrictions on the size and number of bags you may bring onto your flight. Many airlines now charge a fee for every checked bag or have lowered the maximum permitted weight limits for checked luggage.
Do not lock your checked bags except with TSA-approved locks; otherwise, if your bag is selected for random screening, agents will have to break the lock to get inside.
Do not overpack your bag. Screeners will have a difficult time closing your luggage if selected for inspection, which will only lead to wrinkles and the potential for lost articles.
Carry all film with you on-board, as screening equipment for checked luggage can damage undeveloped film.
Place any packed belongings like your plus size evening wear you don’t feel comfortable with strangers handling in clear plastic bags.
Do not stack books and other documents on top of each other; instead, spread them out throughout your bag.
An action movement by the name of ‘Urban Cyprus Society’ has criticised their authorities in Cyprus for spending too much money from the federal budget implementing state-of-the-art LED street lighting whilst leaving the other half of the small island’s streets in complete darkness.
The action group, who is a not for profit advocate online who reports on the issues and dysfunctions of Cyprus townships around the island, explained that the government spent in excess of €2 million on LED lighting whilst numerous other streets in townships around Cyprus were left in the dark.
“The state has paid €2 million for the purchase of money-saving LED bulbs aimed at keeping main crossings lit up, which was the right thing to do, but continues to keep half of the remaining lights switched off and as a result streets remain dark and dangerous for drivers and pedestrians.” This also tends to impact on the industrial parts of Cyprus as sometimes warehouse lighting is seen to go out every now and then.
Urban Cyprus also enlightens the issue with this money-saving structure imposed on a large number of cities and townships, with widespread delays of switching lights on early in the evening by as much as one hour, as well as switching the street lights off an hour too soon in the early hours in the morning.
Townships have on a number of times defended their approaches to saving their money whilst acknowledging at the same time that the lack of lighting is a very high risk to its society.
The local early morning talk show radio station also covers these kinds of issues around Cyprus, with many of its citizen’s constantly complaining about the lack of light in the streets, especially for those who need to wake up early in the morning for work and have to walk in the pitch black streets. This ultimately is a haven for crime to start.
People of the townships are ready to speak with and hold public forums to fix these issues impacting its society.
The Yarra Valley is the home of more than 80 wineries, varying from small, family-owned operations to big estates. This world-famous region is renowned for producing Australia’s finest pinot noir and champagne, in addition to a variety of other cool-climate wines. It was Victoria’s very first planted wine region back in 1838.
The Yarra Valley wine region is known for its fresh fruit and vegetables, freshwater salmon, trout and eggs, handmade cheeses and preserves. Follow the many self-drive wine trails and fill your picnic basket on the Yarra Valley Food Trail or at the many big, fresh grocery store.
De Bortoli Yarra Valley Estate is among the region’s biggest and oldest wineries. The striking contemporary architecture of Tarrawarra Estate stands in plain contrast. See how exceptional wine is made on a behind-the-scenes tour and taste aging wines from the barrel.
Follow the many self-guided wine tracks or forge your own route between the cellar doors. For a complete different view of the valley, join a Yarra Valley tours company and jump in a hot-air balloon overlooking the dawn skies, before landing at a Yarra Valley vineyard to take pleasantly enjoy a breakfast with champagne and freshly-picked produce.
The charm of the Yarra Valley’s changing seasons motivated a lot of Australia’s early landscape painters. Today it is the house of Australia’s earliest artist’s colony and you can go to the studios and galleries where they work.
While you are in the area, why not stop by and visit the local Healesville sanctuary animals. Here you can experience one of the largest collection of Australian native wildlife, including spectacular birds of prey, koalas, wombats, kangaroos and dingoes. Take a drive through the beautiful Black Spur to the lovely village of Marysville. Enjoy nature in the Yarra Ranges National forest, Toolangi State Forest or Kinglake National forest. Hear the bell birds or spot a lyrebird in the rich green fern gullies and hazy mountain ash forests located in the Dandenong Ranges National Park.
The Yarra Valley is approximately a one hour drive north-east of Melbourne. There is no public transport to the valley, so the best method to get there is on an arranged tour or by hire vehicle. You can even visit the vineyards by horse-drawn carriage or chauffeured limousine.
In February, top chefs from many of the wineries host banquets complemented by various live music at the Yarra Valley Grape Grazing Festival. The public transport is not plentiful, but you can organise a choufer and even stay in the area for a few nights at many places offering accommodation in yarra valley.
The opening of the Three Capes Track is wonderful news for Tasmania and a fantastic example of how we can motivate more travellers to check out natural Australia.
Many country Australian’s instinctively appreciate the charm of rural and regional Australia. Tourism provides a considerable opportunity for bringing these locations to life and is an essential source of employment.
Tourism is thriving and it’s one of 5 crucial markets that will drive the economy following the decline of the mining boom. Growth in tourism is predicted to continue at 4.1 per-cent over the next decade, well ahead of Australia’s overall financial growth rate. Tourism supports nearly 1 million jobs and 90 per-cent are filled by Australians.
While tourism is thriving, it’s not evenly spread out. The eastern states are reaping most of the rewards while South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Area are treading water. The story is very similar for rural and regional Australia, which is worrying.
Experiencing remote and magnificent natural attractions is often restricted to those ready to bring a camping tent. While this is a great experience, the building of tracks providing quality, eco-friendly cottages open these areas to a larger number of travellers, as the globally recognised Milford Track in New Zealand proves. This corner of New Zealand is prospering, nearby towns are very busy, their hotels reserved, yet it’s one of the most remote areas on earth.
Australia has world-class natural destinations too, however, we have to make sure more people in the world know about them and want to see them. Connectivity and air travel capability are absolutely crucial to accessibility. Especially for Australia’s prospering wine market, with regions including yarra valley wine establishments and the world famous wineries in the Adelaide hills and the Barossa Valley who rely on tourists to travel. Then think through tourism infrastructure, visa reform, workforce capacity and marketing. We must start thinking about the overall visitor experience from boarding their plane, ship or automobile, to the end location.
Australia is an aspirational location for global visitors. Australia’s natural surroundings, wild animals and diverse coastal experiences attract savvy visitors who are looking to not just visit the most popular attractions, but to have distinct and remarkable experiences that are the envy of their family and friends back home. Many want to experience the corners of the earth, but they don’t wish to rough it.
In 2014-15 nature-based visitors spent $49 billion and the essential attractions are discovered in our regions. We should make sure these sites are known to prospective visitors prior to their visit to Australia. We need to revitalize our offering and supply high-end experiences, such as the 3 Capes Track.
Chinese consumers rate world-class beauty and natural environments as the important element when planning a vacation. Last year 100 million Chinese visitors went on an international vacation, and by 2020 this is set to double. This provides a terrific opportunity for Australia if we can cater for the need.
Targeted worldwide marketing is important and the Restaurant Australia campaign shows why. Our credibility for quality, safe food is a huge advantage over our competitors and many of these experiences are in rural and regional locations with many top class winery restaurants yarra valley in Victoria, for instance. Research showed global visitors did not rate Australia as a food and wine location before they arrived, but rated it highly when they had. This campaign addressed the inconsistency – significantly increasing spending on food and wine by almost $700 million a year and enhancing the perception of our offering.
Tourism Australia’s upcoming Coastal and Aquatic campaign will build on another strength. All of us understand how great our coastal and aquatic experiences are however research has discovered a 10 per-cent decline in Google keyword search for “Australian beaches” and the “Excellent Barrier Reef”. A few of Australia’s best seaside and aquatic experiences are discovered in rural and regional Australia so this will be another excellent chance.
For the very first time because 2010 we are on track to reach our Tourism 2020 target to increase overnight expenses to between $115bn and $140bn, with overnight visitor expenditure reaching a record $88.8 bn last financial year.
With a sensible Australian dollar driving growth, we prepare to capitalise on the effort of the market to make sure the development continues. Our amazing local environments are a key advantage and it is important they share in the success of our tourism market.